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Workers met with massive surprise after draining iconic San Francisco fountain

The Vaillancourt Fountain in San Francisco was vandalized.

When the city drained the Financial District’s iconic concrete Vaillancourt Fountain to address electrical issues, workers Big Surprise.

According to photos on Reddit seen by SF Gate, the floor of the brutalist pentagonal fountain was lined with bottles, cans, five electric scooters, a broken chair, a fire extinguisher, bike locks, and shoes.

By Friday, park staff reportedly had removed the trash from the waterfront fountain, whose official name is Quebec Libre.


The Vaillancourt Fountain at Embarcadero Square was full of debris that was discovered when it was drained for repairs. San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Water gushes from Vaillancourt Fountain at Embarcadero Square in San Francisco, California.
The 36-foot-tall fountain was designed by Quebec artist Armand Vaillancourt. San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department told SF Gate that the angular fountain, a controversial design with a modernist look, has a faulty pump and is experiencing “significant issues” with its electrical system.

The city drained the 36-foot-tall fountain and cleaned it while determining what repairs to make. When functioning properly, the fountain spurts out about 30,000 gallons of water per minute.

Vaillancourt Fountain, a 1971 design by Canadian artist Armand Vaillancourt and a 1975 demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway fountain, will remain empty until renovations are complete, a park spokesperson told SF Gate.

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